• The DIGITAL SME Manifesto launches the European Digital New Deal, an overarching public strategy to put the EU on track for digital leadership by 2030

  • Ahead of June’s EU Elections, the Manifesto highlights policy recommendations under ten policy areas for Europe to spearhead innovation and catch up its digital competitors

  • The official launch took place at the European Parliament with the participation of key EU policy-makers, digital entrepreneurs, and members of its community

The 2024 EU Elections will be a turning point in achieving Europe’s Digital Decade goals. The EU currently relies on foreign countries’ imports for over 80% of digital products, services, and infrastructure. The EU’s share in the global ICT market was halved in the last decade, from 21.8% in 2013 to 11.3% in 2022. The train of the digital revolution is about to depart, and Europe might miss it.

The DIGITAL SME Manifesto provides recommendations to transform Europe from a simple user of digital technologies to a continent of leading developers. An achievement that the EU could score only through the support of a thriving ecosystem of digital SMEs, start-ups, and scale-ups.

DIGITAL SME calls for a European Digital New Deal: an overarching public strategy to reverse the course of history. From an innovation-friendly and forward-looking approach, Europe needs to further strengthen its IT sector, built by SMEs, and foster digital business models. The launch of a Digital New Deal will also bridge the gap between the green and digital transitions, often treated as silos by policy makers.

It is urgent to spearhead innovation and catch up with Europe´s competitors or else be locked in tight economic and geopolitical dependencies. For this reason, the Manifesto calls for a shift not only in approach but also in mentality. After an EU legislative mandate focused on passing regulation, the EU must now make sure it delivers on the overarching goal of achieving digital leadership.

The Manifesto sets recommendations on Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and Data Economy, focusing on regulatory enforcement, funding and public-private partnerships and how to leverage the potential of digital SMEs for a tailor-made digitalisation.

Digital SMEs are the enablers of the twin transition and the drivers of the European Digital New Deal mission. They deliver a “tailor-made digitalization” that suits the needs of each industrial and public sector user. Thus, digital SMEs are the key success factor to make Europe fit for the digital age. 

DIGITAL SME President Dr. Oliver Grün

The Manifesto also suggests a set of measures to ease business opportunities for digital SMEs. It calls for a Buy European Tech Act, as well as the strengthening of the Digital Single Market via a one-stop-shop for SMEs and a Tech Champions Fund for companies on the verge of market leadership. It calls for incentives for reskilling and upskilling for SMEs, leveraging on structured alliances, such as Large-Scale Partnerships under the Pact for Skills. It also encourages a Green Digital Investment Plan to support SMEs producing digital solutions with a net positive impact.

Last, the Manifesto calls to federate the industrial ecosystem so that smaller tech players can join forces around interoperable standards, and for the formation of strong partnerships with the public sector and academia.

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The DIGITAL SME Manifesto is the outcome of a consultation process involving DIGITAL SME members and stakeholders on the priorities of the next EU Mandate, initiated during DIGITAL SME’s November 2023 summit. The Manifesto was presented in the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Josianne Cutajar, and welcomed by key EU policymakers, including MEP Karen Melchior, MEP Radan Kanev, Thibaut Kleiner – Director (DG CNECT) and Amaryllis Verhoeven, Acting Director (DG GROW). The event featured a panel discussion with successful digital entrepreneurs, such as Frank Karlitschek, CEO & Founder (Nextcloud), and Oliver Grün, CEO & Founder (Grün Software AG).

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